Are Sharks Fish or Mammals?

The earliest known sharks date back 420 million years, sharks are survivors. They’ve been here much longer than humans and will likely be here long after we’re gone. They are very interesting and amazing creatures, because of this people have many questions about sharks… where they live, what they eat, how long they they live, and are sharks fish or mammals?

The answer to that last question is easy…

Are sharks fish or mammals?

Sharks are a species of fish, they are not mammals. That species is cartilaginous fish, the same as manta rays and sting rays.

Are all sharks fish?

There are over 500 species of sharks swimming in the worlds oceans, and they all fall into the class cartilaginous fish. So yes, all sharks are fish.

Cartilaginous fish are highly intelligent to the point they can solve problems. That coupled with their large strong jaws makes them excellent predators.

Why are sharks considered fish?

Sharks have gills on the sides of their heads and use them to filter oxygen from the water. Sharks also do not have lungs and are incapable of breathing air, this classifies sharks as fish.

Do sharks lay eggs?

When it comes sharks, there are two types; oviparous (egg-laying) and viviparous (live-bearing). That means that some sharks lay eggs, and some sharks give birth to live young. Surprisingly, about 70% of sharks give birth to live babies.

Shark eggs are in leathery cases that protect the embryo from the dangers of the sea. The mother will put the eggs somewhere she thinks they will be safe from predators, like under a rock. Then she is done and the baby sharks are on their own.


Shark Q&A

Do sharks fart?

Yes, sharks can fart! But not in the traditional sense of the word, expelling gas from the anus. Sharks have a cloaca that functions as an opening for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts. If sharks gulp air from the surface when they come up for an attack this air may be passed through their bodies and expelled through the cloaca. However you likely won’t get the funny sound…

Do sharks die if they stop moving?

Some species of sharks, like Great Whites, breathe through a process known as ram ventilation and must continuously swim in order to ventilate their gills and filter the oxygen from the water. With that in mind, some species of sharks will die if they stop swimming.

Other sharks breathe through a method known as buccal pumping where their mouth muscles pump water in their mouth and through their gills, thus they don’t have to continuously swim to breathe.

Do sharks have lungs?

Sharks do not have lungs because like other fish they breathe by using 5-7 pairs of gills they have on either side of their head.

Do sharks have bones?

Even though sharks are fish, they are different from other fish in that they do not have bones. Sharks do have skeletons, but they’re made of cartilage, not bone. A cartilage skeleton has many advantages for sharks; it’s light, flexible, and heals fast. Their jaws, skulls, and spine are reinforced with calcium salts which makes them strong and thicker.

Do sharks have scales?

A shark’s skin feels like sandpaper because it is made up of thousands of tiny “knife-like scales” that protect them from parasites and help them move through the water easily. Why do fish have scales?

Do sharks sleep?

People actually know very little about the sleeping habits of sharks. As we touched on above, some sharks must be constantly swimming in order to stay alive. Even so, sharks must sleep somehow. It is believed that sharks are able to go into a state of inactivity and swim on autopilot that allows them to rest.

Are sharks cold blooded?

Most sharks are cold blooded like other fish. However some, like the great white shark, are in fact warm blooded. Great white sharks are able to maintain a body temperature of about 25 degrees F warmer than the water they’re in.

Are sharks blind?

Not only are sharks not blind, they have exceptional vision. Their eyes are about 3 times more sensitive to light than humans and can see their prey in the dark from up to 100 feet away.

Can sharks swim backwards?

Sharks are the only type of fish that can’t swim backwards and can even drown if you pull them backwards by their tail.

Can sharks live in freshwater?

There are true freshwater sharks, true saltwater sharks, and then some can swim in both for extended periods. Take the bull shark for instance who has been known to travel from the ocean 700 miles up the Mississippi River into Illinois.


Wildlife Informer

Hi, my name is Jesse and I'm the guy behind Wildlife Informer. Ever since I was a kid I've loved learning about wildlife. Now I share my knowledge here on this site with you!